Under the Longleaf Pine Canopy

Longleaf pine forests once covered over 90 million acres of North America stretching from Texas to Florida to Virginia. However, logging, fire exclusion, and land use change caused the acreage of longleaf pine to shrink to about 2.5 million acres. “Longleaf pine forests are one of the most endangered terrestrial ecosystems in the southeastern United States,”…  More 

The Harrison Experimental Forest

Located in the lower Coastal Plain in southeastern Mississippi, the Harrison Experimental Forest (Harrison) was established on the Desoto National Forest in 1934. By that time, vast stands of southern pines, mostly longleaf pine, had been cut from the estimated 31 million acres that made up the southern Coastal Plain forest. Located just north of…  More 

Protecting Water Quality in North Carolina’s Neuse River Basin

The Neuse River begins in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, and much of its 275-mile journey to the Atlantic Ocean is through forests that are managed for timber. A new study by U.S. Forest Service researchers evaluates Best Management Practices (BMPs) for silviculture operations to see whether water quality in the Neuse River Basin…  More 

Restoring Shortleaf Pine in the Southern Appalachians

On July 29-30, the Consortium of Appalachian Fire Managers and Scientists (CAFMS) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) hosted a workshop in Asheville, North Carolina, to discuss threats, barriers, and successes in relation to the restoration of shortleaf pine in the southern Appalachians. Over 80 participants from national forests and parks, state agencies, and nongovernmental organizations from…  More 

Thinning and Burning: The Best Defense Against Southern Pine Beetle

A recent study by U.S. Forest Service and university researchers shows that thinning and prescribed fire can protect stands of southern pines on a landscape level from infestations by southern pine beetle. The results, published online in the Journal of Forestry, also provide first-time confirmation of the effectiveness of the treatments supported by the Southern Pine…  More 

Could Forest Thinning Help Ease Water Shortages in the United States?

Planning for the future of the nation’s water resources is more important now than ever before as severe drought grips the West, affecting heavily populated areas and critical agricultural regions. Forests generally yield huge quantities of water—much more than crops or grasslands—but also use a lot of water during the growing season, so some land…  More 

Pro-B: A Practical Management Tool for Implementing Selection Silviculture

Pro-B, a method developed by U.S. Forest Service research, helps make uneven-aged management of longleaf pine and other forest types a practical and efficient option for landowners and managers. A field study by researchers showed that after less than three hours of training on the Pro-B (proportional basal area) method, managers were able to accurately…  More 

18th Biennial Southern Silvicultural Research Conference Held in Knoxville

The first week of March, the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) and the University of Tennessee (UT) hosted nearly 250 scientists and silvicultural specialists in Knoxville, Tennessee, for the 18th Annual Biennial Southern Silvicultural Research Conference (BSSRC).  The conference boasted attendance from academic, international, state, federal, private, and non-governmental institutions and agencies from…  More 

Restoring Forests, Part 2

Across the world, an estimated 1 billion acres of forests are in need of restoration, a formidable challenge that will only intensify under continued climate change. Where to start in restoring the world’s forests? What methods are appropriate? Restoring forests, already a complex process, is further complicated—and sometimes stymied—by a basic lack of consensus on…  More 

Making a Start on Restoring Hemlocks to the Southern Appalachians

This winter, in collaboration with the North Carolina State University (NCSU) Camcore program, the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) established plots for the first phase of research to support restoring hemlocks to the forest stands in the southern Appalachians they’ve disappeared from. Andy Tait, NCSU-Camcore research assistant based at SRS, coordinated the planting…  More